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Thread: Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility

  1. #1

    Default Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility

    Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility
    Posted by Mike Florio on May 1, 2010 12:23 PM ET
    On Friday, former Saints director of security Geoffrey Santini sued the team for constructive discharge. He alleges that G.M. Mickey Loomis attempted to cover up evidence that Vicodin was being stolen from the team drug locker by two senior staff members.

    The lawsuit does not name the two senior staff members. Per the initial filing, Saints trainer Scottie Patton told Santini that one of the unnamed employees has a "painful medical condition," and that the other one does not.

    Based on extensive discussions with multiple sources having knowledge of the situation but who have requested anonymity given the sensitive nature of the case, the two unnamed senior staff members are assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt and head coach Sean Payton.

    Keep in mind that these are only allegations. To date, no proof has been introduced linking either man to the alleged theft, unauthorized use, or abuse of Vicodin from the Saints' drug locker. It is our understanding that the matter has been referred to local federal authorities, and that the matter has been investigated. We don't know whether the investigation has been concluded, or whether it remains active.

    Per our sources, Vitt is the staff member with the painful medical condition. Which means that Payton is the staff member who, based on the information provided by Patton to Santini, does not have a painful medical condition.

    The Saints declined comment on the matter. Reach by e-mail, V.P. of communications Greg Bensel forwarded his statement from Friday, which initially was given to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "I will not have any other comment nor will I be releasing these names," Bensel told us.

    (Here is Bensel's statement from Friday: "A former employee who resigned just before the 2009 regular season threatened to go public with these unfounded charges unless we agreed to pay him an exorbitant sum of money. We refused and now he has gone public. We will aggressively defend these false allegations in court. We will not have any further comment on this matter at this time. Rather we look forward to welcoming our rookie players and want our focus to be on continuing our preparations for the 2010 Football Season and defending our title.")

    We've been advised that settlement discussions indeed occurred before the suit was filed, but that an agreement (obviously) was not reached. The lawsuit filing indicates that formal service of the documents has not yet been requested. Once service occurs, the Saints will have a finite period of time within which to respond. Given that the claims implicate federal drug laws, it's possible that the team will remove the lawsuit from Louisiana state court to federal court.

    Typically, federal court provides a more level playing field for business interests. Given the extent to which the Saints are locally beloved, however, Santini and his lawyer could have a hard time finding jurors in either the state or federal setting who will be capable of overlooking the fleur-de-lis that has been tattooed onto their souls.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility

    Anyways this doesn't look like its going away anytime soon

    New Orleans paper confirms Sean Payton, Joe Vitt as unnamed employees in Santini suit
    Posted by Mike Florio on May 1, 2010 7:00 PM ET
    We reported shortly after noon Saturday that coach Sean Payton and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt are the unnamed Saints employees to whom former director of security Geoffrey Santini's lawsuit refers in connection with the alleged abuse and/or theft of Vicodin from the team drug locker.

    Several hours later, after Payton issued a statement denying any abuse or theft of Vicodin, Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times Picayune reported the same thing -- without, of course, crediting us.

    Ordinarily, we'd have no problem with writers or (more often) editors pretending not to notice something we have reported. (After eight-plus years, we've sort of gotten numb to it.) In this case, however, we suspect that the Times-Picayune knew damn well that Payton and Vitt were "Senior Staff Member A" and "Senior Staff Member B," respectively, but didn't have the guts to go with it until after Payton issued a denial. (We'll admit that we're speculating on this specific point; if anyone from the Times-Pic wants to provide us with an official explanation regarding the reason for their decision not to credit us despite the fact that their report came four hours after ours, we're all ears.)

    Meanwhile, we've got to give credit where credit is due for, um, giving credit. has expressly acknowledged that Payton's statement came in response to our report, an admirable gesture given that we've taken a few shots at the four-letter network lately.

    Finally, to all of you who believed/hoped/prayed that we'd finally put ourselves in line for the kind of lawsuit that would shut us down permanently, do you really think we're that stupid?

    I mean, we're stupid. But we're not that stupid.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility

    DEA exploring Saints drug case
    Posted by Mike Florio on May 3, 2010 7:34 AM ET
    For those of you who devote none of your non-work time to the perusal of the non-work websites that you peruse while at work, you missed a big one over the weekend.

    Friday night, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on the filing of a lawsuit against the Saints by former director of security Geoffrey Santini, who alleges that he resigned after G.M. Mickey Loomis tried to cover up the abuse and/or theft of Vicodin by two unnamed senior staff members.

    Early Saturday afternoon, we reported that the two unnamed senior staff members are coach Sean Payton and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt. (The New Orleans Times-Picayune and, subsequently, the AP confirmed our report.)

    Payton thereafter issued a statement denying any abuse or theft of Vicodin.

    The Associated Press now reports that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration previously has launched an investigation into the situation, which is still "pending." The lawsuit filed by Santini contends that he referred the matter to federal authorities before Santini resigned in August 2009.

    Per the AP, Louisiana officials have not yet begun to investigate whether any state laws were violated.

    Whether the DEA investigation results in prosecution remains to be seen. Based on the allegations contained in the lawsuit, the unidentified person who is Payton did not steal Vicodin; instead, he merely had been issued (allegedly) an amount of the medication that would be sufficient to constitute abuse in the absence of a painful medication condition. The unidentified person who is Vitt allegedly removed Vicodin from a drug locker.

    As to Vitt, that could spell trouble. And if the feds begin to ask him tough questions, he likely will be pressed to give up details regarding whether Payton or anyone else was involved in the unauthorized removal and/or use of Vicodin without a valid prescription, and/or whether Saints doctors were handing out narcotics like after-dinner mints.

    The lawsuit alleges that videotape exists of the unidentified person who is Vitt removing the Vicodin from the drug locker. We're told that Santini has a copy of the tape in his possession.

    So this one likely won't go away quickly. And it quickly could get ugly for one or more Saints employees.

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